Imagine you are sitting in a group of men. You have been asked to be honest with this group of men and they have been asked to be honest with you. Then the question comes up, have you acted on a desire to masturbate this week? You feel it deep in the pit of your stomach. It’s that urge to bury it, to hide, to play it cool and hope nobody notices you shifting in your seat. You know you need to be honest to get anything out of this group. You’ve even asked them to ask you this question. You just never expected to have to answer with a yes. Continue reading
Although pornographic consumption is on the rise among females, it’s still considered’and has historically been’a male problem. But because consumption of pornography is recognized as largely a male issue, and because it usually begins in adolescence, many adults have become increasingly inclined to tell boys that what they’re doing is normal. That satisfying their curiosity with pornography, and gratifying their hormonal urges, is a natural right of passage to manhood. This is exceedingly dangerous counsel.
Based upon my counseling experience, I believe the pornography has trapped more young men, and haunted them throughout their adult lives, than any other problem.
Don’t misunderstand me. Not all men who struggle with pornography are sexual addicts. However, that’s no cause whatsoever to minimize the issue. If you become accustomed to the world of pornographic fantasy you’re at great risk to do great damage.
Eventually it will ruin your relationship with God, your feeling of self-worth, your ability to relate to women, and it can potentially destroy your marriage. But even if your marriage does stay intact, pornography steadily and surely steals the potential for true intimacy with your wife. True, you’re present in body, but your mind is somewhere else’entertaining thoughts and fantasies of other women who, in their own tragic way, have also been victimized by the pornographic industry. Wake up, men: fantasizing over pornographic images is neither natural nor trivial.
The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan was riveting. I had never before seen such a realistic portrayal of men going into battle. The vomiting and praying, tangible expressions of the upset the men were going through, were believable.
As He prepared for the battle of Calvary, the Bible tells us that Jesus sweat blood. He poured out His heart in prayer to His Father. He was prepared for the battle and did not flinch in the face of it.
Examining Paul’s second letter to Corinth can help us better understand how we can prepare for and win the battle before us.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Paul says we are waging war. We live in the world. The majority of you who are reading this are US citizens. But Paul makes clear that we are fighting an otherworldly battle while we are here. By faith we are citizens of God’s kingdom. The battle lines are drawn.
God’s objective is to show His glory by redeeming His fallen creation and fallen creatures. At the same time, Satan’s objective is to obscure the glory of God. Because Christian marriage is a part of God’s creative design, God’s enemies attack husbands and wives in order to divide them and rob them of the joy that results from true intimacy.
Sexual sin is one aspect of the disciple’s struggle. When Christian men are sexually impure, God’s love and grace are obscured and Satan gains a victory in the battle for God’s kingdom. The battle for sexual purity is a battle for recovery from the effects of the sin nature. Recovery is discipleship. Recovery is putting off and putting on.
WE ARE SOLDIERS IN GOD’S KINGDOM ARMY
All who know Christ by faith are soldiers of the King’s army. There are no deferments. There are no conscientious objectors. There is no Switzerland, no neutrality in this war. I am a warrior for God’s kingdom.
Over 2,000 years ago, Sun Tzu wrote the timeless military classic, The Art of War. In it, he challenged: ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’
In gathering intelligence about the enemy, we immediately consider the devil and the world. What we often fail to consider is that while I am a soldier, I am also fighting on the enemy side’my flesh is at war with the Spirit’s work in my life. While I am still vulnerable to the evil desires of my flesh, the temptations that this world offers, and the attacks of Satan and his legions, I am not vulnerable as I once was. By faith, I benefit from the indwelling Holy Spirit and the promises of God’s Word.
Further, I can’t win the war by myself. Paul didn’t write, ‘I do not wage war as the world does.’
The Rambo movies were very popular, but not a true reflection of genuine war. My addiction predisposes me to isolate myself from others and attempt to fight the war alone. Wars are a fought on an overwhelming scale and require armies to vanquish the enemy. By faith, I have been placed in a company of those who aspire to do God’s will and do it, though not perfectly.
Just as an individual soldier is trained to fight as a part of a squad, a platoon, a company, etc., so we need training to begin fighting our addiction alongside others. Many of the men who attend the Every Man’s Battle workshop find sharing their stories with others to be freeing. They feel like they have unburdened themselves. However, they often struggle after they return home to unburden themselves with the men they work or worship with. In order to win the battle for purity, I must become we. For the soldier, his training doesn’t end with Basic Training. And so we need training that continues beyond Every Man’s Battle.
See the article Recovery As Spiritual Warfare part 2, where we will consider the objectives and tactics that Paul urges us to adopt in fighting this spiritual war.